I originally began studying Ki-Hara because I wanted to help stretch my personal training clients- many of whom were physically unable to stretch themselves. I learned basic assisted stretching through the Ki-Hara method and began to experiment my new stretching skills with willing clients, and was amazed at the great results. It was not only increasing their flexibility, but also improving their posture, helping them sleep better, removing layers of tension and pain that were restricting them from certain movements. It felt so rewarding to be able to help people, and it was then I knew I had to further my education with Ki-Hara.
How does Ki-Hara work?
Muscles fibers are meant to slide together to contract, and slide apart to expand. Damage to the fibers due to either overuse, injury, or over-stretching can render some of the muscle fibers non-functional- unable to contract (slide together) or expand (slide apart). This restricts range of motion and function, muscle compensation occurs, and eventually postural deviations begin to appear.
If a muscle is trapped in a shortened length, it can pull on the bones and joints in one direction or the other, causing tension- same as with a muscle that is overstretched, not giving the bones and joints the support they need.
Resistance stretching potentially restores muscle health and elasticity by reactivating the nervous system's connection to these fibers, teaching them to both expand and contract.
Ki-Hara training works through “eccentric contractions”, where the muscle is contracting against a force while being lengthened at the same time. Though often overlooked by traditional stretching, “eccentric” contractions are key to restoring health to the muscles by building elasticity, strength, power, increasing blood flow, and releasing toxins and adhesions (or “knots”) residing inside the muscles. For more information about the science of eccentric contractions. Watch the video from my teacher, Nic Barlotta, for a great visualization of this. (©
Dynamic Contraction Technique, LLC)
Ki-Hara problem solving
Most of us experience some or many types of injury within our lifetime. As we age, our bodies have an amazing ability to develop new pathways to avoid using these injured muscles. This may help, in the short term, but in the long term these substitutions may create even more pain and substitution without ever addressing the real source of the problem.
Something as simple as falling off of a bike during childhood can set off a chain of muscle substitutions that alter our patterns of movement decades later.
Most common aches and pains are the result of a muscle imbalance- one muscle is too tight; the other too weak. Ki-Hara method incorporates balancing, opposing, and advocate muscle problem solving formulas to restore optimal movement to the entire body, integrating muscle activation to restore neural pathways.
Ki-Hara resistance stretching protocol involves exploring and discovering the deeper source of the problem- not just treating the surface. Most often, the area of pain is not the underlying cause of it- muscle groups surrounding the area of pain are either too tight or two weak to balance each other. For example, lower back pain often comes from tight hamstrings, but can just as often come from tightness in the front of the body such as the psoas or the quad being too tight, pulling one or both sides of the hip into an anterior tilt. This anterior tilt can pull the lower back out of its natural alignment, placing pressure on the vertebral disks. Exploring further, an imbalance with the inner or outer thigh often is increased trying to maintain posture with a funky anterior tilt. Problem solving also involves examining the fascial meridians of the body- for instance: lower back or shoulder pain may be caused by tightness in the calves tugging the entire back fascial line.
Benefits include but are not limited to:
- increased flexibility and range of motion
- improved joint stability
- reduction in chronic joint and muscle pain
- Increased energy and better sleep
- improved sports performance and recovery
- reduced risk of injury from physical activity and overstretching
- increased strength and muscle tone
Ki-Hara trainers have extensive training in identifying muscle imbalances and problem solving these areas. For more information about the Ki-Hara method and certifications, visit www.ki-hara.com